The Cost of Dance Classes for Children

Commitments required for hobby versus professional dance

Female ballet dancer (6-7,8-9) in dance studio
Tetra Images - Mike Kemp/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

With the popularity of television dancing shows and competitions and various dance styles glorified through film, many children fantasize about becoming professional dancers, though very few ever will. 

You think you have a child who loves to dance. He or she continually asks to take classes. You think your child is sincere. You now start wondering, can we afford it? How much is needed to budget per month or per year?

Then you start wondering about the time commitment involved, the cost of accessories and recitals.

Cost Commitment as a Hobby

As far as costs for ballet or dance classes as a hobby is concerned, expect to pay somewhere around $60 to $150 per month for tuition, depending on the number of classes your child takes each week and the region you live in. In addition to tuition, there is the cost of dance clothesshoes and accessories. Most dance schools hold an annual recital, with costumes averaging about $75 apiece.

Another expense to think about is performance costs. Many dance schools offer students the chance to perform in major productions, such as The Nutcracker. While these experiences can be great fun for young dancers, they can also add considerably to the time and money you devote to ballet. There are typically extra costs such as costume rentals and new ballet shoes, as well as extra practices and rehearsals.

In addition, some advanced dancers may be asked to attend dance competitions. A dance competition is a great way to improve dance technique and performance ability, but can also be rather costly. Each dancer is required to pay several entry fees and purchase or rent stage costumes.

Benefits of Dance

If your child prefers to study dance just for the fun of it, dance is beneficial in many ways.

Aside from giving a child an appreciation of music and dance, this exercise helps develops coordination and flexibility. Regular dance classes, practices, rehearsals and stage performances instill a certain amount of discipline, provides children with friends of similar interests and helps a child develop a strong sense of accomplishment and self-confidence.

Going Past the Hobby Stage

If your child decides to advance past the hobby stage of dance, then costs can begin to skyrocket as can the demand on your child's life. For example, the ballet dance style is very challenging, both physically and mentally. The old saying, "You get out of it, what you put into it," holds true.

If your child has serious ambitions of becoming a professional dancer, training will be extremely rigorous, usually at around 12 years of age. He or she will be required to take classes five or six days per week, sometimes more than one class per day. Most professional dancers begin dancing full-time while their peers are finishing high school.

It was estimated in 2015 by FiveThirtyEight, an online polling aggregator, that the cost of raising a serious ballet dancer through 15 years of rigorous training at top tier dance schools, summer camps, clothing and accessories and fees would cost upwards of $120,000.